- Mar 31, 2000
This one was horrendous - and the kind you think to yourself "that call wouldn't have gone that way except it was the Yankees."There have been three moments in MLB history that I have personally watched that ever made me want to break things because of how mad I got.
3: Jeffrey Maier.
This is the most defensible of the three. It's still atrocious, but Coble's argument at least made a tiny bit of "I was looking at this" sense. And Gant can at least in this case be blamed for going so far past first and then taking it easy going in.2. Kent Hrbek/Ron Gant. Sorry Braves fans.
Was it a terrible call?
Yes. But at least it - unlike the other two here - had external factors that mitigated "the ump blew it" a tiny bit. Plus, it was game two and Atlanta lost the series after being up, 3-2, in games. This one - while it enraged me at the time - is actually the least bothersome, particularly when you look at how terrible Hrbek batted from that point on in the series. Hrbek went 3-for-26 in the series and drove in two runs. He was 2-for-4 in game one and walked his first time up game two. In other words, from the moment Hrbek made that play, he was 1-for-19 - and his RBI was when Glavine couldn't hit the plate in the sixth inning of game 5 and walked him to force in a run.
Btw - have you read the Retrosheet entry on that one?
Gant was tagged out when he rounded 1B
too far; Hrbek appeared to pull Gant off the bag when he applied
From what I recall, Gregg got worse as the game went on that day. Hernandez so far has 7 calls on really bad balls that Gregg calls strikes, but he's also sweeping it over the corner on a lot of them, too. Part of why I'm reviewing this is to see if my initial memory of a game I've refused to watch ever since then is as bad as I recall when emotional.1. Eric Gregg game.
This is not as far-fetched as you might think.That game right there, given the playoff implications of it, should had led to Gregg's dismissal as an UMP. He was so bad, I wonder at times if he had money on the game for the Marlins.
In 1989, John Dowd (the guy whose report got Pete Rose banished) also investigated gambling associations of umpires. Rich Garcia and oh yeah Frank Pulli (who was - wait for it - calling first base in this very game under discussion) were "secretly" put on probation. That report did not come out until March of 2002, and it caused a bit of a stink when it did because they threw Rose under the bus so publicly - and umpires have a whole lot more influence over a team winning than a manager can ever hope to have. The umps were "betting on sports other than baseball." Still not a good look.
Can you possibly name a better scenario than:
- hey gamblers, I'm in debt BUT
- it's Greg Maddux versus a nobody, so the odds are heavily in Atlanta's favor
- I'm calling home plate (or if it's Pulli who needs the help, "Gregg is calling the plate and he already has a strike zone wider than Eurasia, so bet on the Marlins")
And you're right - that game was SO BAD that Gregg should have fired coming off the field. Hell, McGriff should have trotted on down to first anyway just to show him up. Game was over.
Don Denkinger, Jim Joyce, and Drew Coble (along with Ken Burkhardt in the 1970 World Series) made bad calls in the heat of battle where they simply made mistakes because they were human. Gregg called the worst game by a home plate umpire in MLB that I've ever seen.
I don't know he didn't gamble. I mean, I know that's not evidence and could never work in a court of law BUT.....Gregg was fired less than two years later in the mass resignation of umps so they had no need to investigate.I know he did not but I could not believe an ump could have been THAT bad without reason.